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Mercedes E-class coupe: Test drive review

Date: 04 June 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Sports
P11D price: £35,055
Key rival: Audi A5

Mercedes is simultaneously launching the E-class saloon and the E-class coupe, so you'd expect the coupe to be in the same executive sector of the market as the E-class, right? Wrong.

The E-class coupe is confusingly replacing the CLK, which is firmly in the sector below, going up against the BMW 3-series coupe and the Audi A5.

Adding to the confusing, the Mercedes carries a better looking (in this writer's opinion) version of the E-class saloon's front end. And at the back of the car there's more muscular-looking styling.

The boot isn't quite as big as either the E-class saloon or the Audi A5, but at 450 litres is still plenty large enough, plus the rear seats fold to allow longer loads. The rear two seats are also a decent size for adults providing the driver and passenger don't push their seats all the way back.

Bigger selling four-cylinder diesel engines will arrive later this year, but at launch the only diesel available is the 234PS 3.0-litre.

With an automatic gearbox as standard and badged 350 CDI, the diesel comes in above the 160g/km limit for capital allowance, but then neither of its rivals have cracked that figure either.

Despite this initial set-back the official fuel consumption is impressively at 41.5mpg.

However, it's the depreciation (or lack of) that will really attract business buyers. The E350 CDI in Sport trim retains 45% of its value at three years and 60,000 miles, according to KwikCarCost. This beats both the equivalent BMW and Audi and give the E-class coupe a costs win.

The E-class coupe's weak spot however, is the driving experience, which doesn't match the excellent standards set in the new E-class saloon. The rear suspension of the coupe doesn't cope well with uneven British roads and sends unpleasant jolts back to the driver.

The only other negative to the E-class coupe is the car's performance. In isolation and when driving the car is easily swift enough to cope with overtaking manoeuvres. However, despite having very similar power outputs to the Audi A5 3.0 TDI and the BMW 330d coupe, the 0-62mph time of the E350 CDI coupe is slower at 6.7 seconds against the rivals' figure of 6.1 seconds. This may not sound like much, but at this level it's almost 10% slower and if you've driven either the BMW or the Audi it is noticeable.

But, even with performance and ride quality included, the whole life costs business case for the E-class coupe coupled to the overall prestige appeal makes it a class winner.

Mercedes E350CDI Sport coupe
P11D price£35,055
Model price range£28,863-£47,010
Fuel consumption41.5mpg
CO2 (tax) 179g/km (26%)
BIK 20/40% per month£151/£303
Service intervalvariable
Insurancegroup 18
Warranty3yrs/unltd mls
Boot space450 litres
Engine size/power2987cc/231PS
Top speed/0-62mphnow
VerdictA clear winner, it’s just a shame
it doesn’t drive as well as
the new E-class saloon